Since independence in 1806 Liechtensteins foreign policy has aimed at cooperation with other countries in order to create the best possible conditions for the Principality to develop as a state and safeguard its sovereignty.
A key aspect of this policy is maintaining good relations with neighbouring states. Liechtenstein has particularly close legal and economic ties with Switzerland and Austria, while other important partners include Germany and the United States. Liechtensteins destiny is also very closely linked to that of Europe. Therefore, economic integration in Europe plays a major role in the countrys foreign policy.
For Liechtenstein, the most appropriate form of integration remains its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), which offers the Principality direct access to the EU single market. Liechtenstein also aims to further develop international free trade agreements in the framework of its EFTA membership, which represents another central element of foreign policy. One main focus is minimising discrimination when it comes to accessing foreign markets.
In a globalised world with ever closer relations between countries, decisions are increasingly taken at international level. Liechtenstein uses active diplomacy in order to defend its political, economic and cultural interests. These interests extend far beyond the economic sphere. For example, Liechtenstein has a fundamental vested interest in promoting democracy worldwide, protecting human rights, fostering the rule of law and combatting poverty. Wars, conflicts, terrorist activities and serious poverty can have a direct impact on Liechtenstein. Therefore, Liechtenstein uses the limited foreign policy resources at its disposal as effectively as possible in order to build networks as well as to raise and champion issues it considers important, particularly within the framework of negotiations. Liechtenstein is committed to promoting common and streamlined international rules while at the same time protecting the right of states to act and take decisions at national level.
An overview shows the international connections of Liechtenstein:
International Criminal Court
Accession to the European Economic Area (EEA), accession to World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Full membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
Accession to the United Nations (UN)
European Patent Office
Accession to the Council of Europe
Signing of the CSCE Helsinki Final Act (today OSCE)
Accession to Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
In an interview, the Liechtenstein Ambassador in Vienna, Her Serene Highness Maria-Pia Kothbauer, Princess of Liechtenstein, speaks about the neighbourly relations, past highlights and the future challenges of her work.